By BRETT MARSHALL
It seemed as though both Garden City High School girls basketball coach David Upton and his counterpart with Ulysses, Eric Flaton, knew what the final outcome of their Tuesday night non-league contest would be at The Garden.
The only question would be the final score.
That was answered with the Lady Buffs safely securing a 45-22 victory to snap a brief, 2-game losing streak and improve to 7-4 while the Lady Tigers, struggling to find scoring, fell to 2-8.
It was the last game before both teams head into mid-season tournaments next week, Garden City playing at the Newton Invitational while Ulysses heads east to play in the Haven Invitational.
"We've just had a horrible time finding any consistency in playing," Flaton said following the loss. "It seemed like at halftime, there was saran wrap put over the lid on our basket."
After a sluggish start, Flaton saw his team trailing 14-4 at the end of the first quarter and after playing the Lady Buffs on near-even terms in the second (9-8), watched Upton's team put the game out of reach in the third quarter.
"We accomplished most of what we wanted tonight, especially getting the early lead," Upton said. "We've struggled in the first half it seems and I thought we were better at that tonight. We got a good look at some of our halfcourt defense and worked on executing some other things on offense."
The 12-2 third quarter advantage effectively ended any mystery to the outcome as the Lady Buffs took a 35-14 lead to the final eight minutes.
"We knew that they tended to struggle with ball pressure so that's what we wanted to do," Upton said. "Unfortunately for them, they don't have anybody to complement Britton (6-0 senior Kaylea, an NCAA Division I signee with Vermont). I thought Casey (Curran) did a good job of defending her in the low post."
Britton scored just eight points and was only 4-of-15 from the field, but did grab a game-high nine rebounds as the Lady Tigers had a slender 38-34 edge on the boards. Kennedy Brunson, a 5-5 sophomore guard, topped the Lady Buffs rebounders with six.
"She's like a little worm down in there, but she really scraps to get rebounds," Upton said of Brunson. "We saw that early in the season and she's just now started to figure that out again."
No Garden City player scored in double figures, but Taryn Tempel's eight points led the Lady Buffs, who had nine players crack the scoring column.
Ulysses was guilty of 19 turnovers while Garden City committed 14 miscues. It was a game that Garden led from beginning to end and after the early few minutes, Ulysses was never closer than seven points.
"When you're struggling like we are, you're looking for positives," Flaton said. "Our girls kept fighting out there and that's something to build on. We just made bad passes and that compounded the other problems we've had. Considering the defenses she sees, I thought Kaylea had a good game because when other teams double down on her, she's able to find players and she just works real hard and continues to do a good of leading our team."
Ulysses 4 8 2 8 -- 22
Garden City 14 9 12 10 -- 45
Ulysses (2-8) — Gallegos 0-3 0-0 0, Westover 0-3 0-0 0, Corral 2-4 0-0 4, Monzon 0-5 0-0 0, Bohl 1-1 0-0 2, Langley 2-10 0-2 4, Branscum 0-2 0-0 0, Chavez 1-4 0-0 2, Britton 4-16 0-0 8, Dudden 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 11-49 0-2 22.
Garden City (7-4) — McClelland 2-3 2-5 6, Curran 2-4 0-0 4, Heiman 2-9 1-1 6, Campbell 3-4 0-0 6, Brunson 1-5 1-2 3, Tempel 3-6 2-5 8, Miller 0-0 1-2 1, Heatwole 2-5 1-1 5, Bernbeck 2-6 2-3 6, Hinde 0-3 0-0 0, Schmale 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-47 10-19 45.
3-point goals--Ulysses 0-1 (Britton 0-1), Garden City 1-5 (Heiman 1-3, Brunson 0-1, Bernbeck 0-1). Rebounds--Ulysses 38 (Britton 9, Langley 8), Garden City 34 (Brunson 6). Turnovers--Ulysses 19, Garden City 14. Fouls--Ulysses 15, Garden City 9. Technical fouls--Ulysses bench.